Cooper’s vote margin nearly doubles from Election Day

Roy Cooper’s lead over Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday afternoon increased to 9,558 votes, nearly double what it was on Election Day.

The State Board of Elections posted the count on its website, which also indicated all but 14 counties have submitted final results to the state.

The increasing gap is approaching the 10,000-vote cutoff point beyond which McCrory cannot demand a recount.

Earlier Monday, Cooper’s election attorney said internal math put the margin at 9, 133 votes. Marc Elias said he didn’t think the margin would fluctuate significantly beyond that, as additional votes will come in for both candidates.

He said he didn’t think Cooper’s lead would surpass the 10,000-vote mark needed to avoid a runoff. McCrory last week called for a recount, but over the weekend said he would withdraw that demand if the state elections board agrees to order a hand recount of votes in Durham County.

“Roy Cooper has won the election,” Elias said.

The McCrory campaign has cited computer problems on Election Day that led to delays that night, as well as voting irregularities that Republicans have alleged. Democrats and the Durham elections board have rejected those claims and said the computer problems didn’t affect the vote-counting.

Asked why he thought McCrory was pursuing a recount of the 4.8 million votes cast for governor statewide, Elias said, “I think he’s probably hopeful. That ray of hope has now dimmed.”

Elias also claimed that the campaign to file protests in half of the state’s counties was baseless.

“I think they’re probably hoping they create some static so that they can claim there’s something going on when there’s nothing,” Elias said.

Both sides continued to seek financial contributions for their ongoing legal expenses in emails distributed Monday.

The State Board of Elections website shows a smaller margin between Cooper and McCrory because the Cooper campaign has attended all the county canvass meetings to obtain totals, rather than waiting for them to be uploaded.

Elias said he was confident the outcome of the election would be known before the end of the year, following recounts next week.

Craig Jarvis: 919-829-4576, @CraigJ_NandO